So here’s a question: Just how weird and off-message and defensive would Donald Trump have needed to be before his supporters felt that he had “lost” the debate?
There were so many topics in his campaign’s playbook he could have used to attack Hillary Clinton on, and he used pretty much none of them. Instead, he let her make the debate a referendum on him, time and again. There were so many moments when he simply lost the thread. Here are just a few.
When reminded of his various on-the-record “climate change is a hoax” statements, he claimed he’d never said them. When asked why he had continued to publicly tout the “birther” conspiracy between 2012 and 2016, he just replied that no one was caring much about it. Do you understand that answer? Does anybody?
When called by Clinton on all the nasty things he has publicly said about women, he didn’t deny it — he just defended himself by claiming those statements were all about Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, um, really???
He also seemed sincerely unaware of NATO’s decades-long history of antiterrorism programs. His assertion that NATO only started doing something about terrorism after he’d personally suggested it was so outright nutty that it was almost charming.
And just when I figured things couldn’t get weirder, Trump started brazenly touting his new hotel, right in the middle of the debate. You can’t make this stuff up.
So I wonder, what would Donald Trump have needed to do for his supporters to think he had lost? Literally pull down his pants?